Airbnb is a stunning example of a multilingual site done right. From the moment you log in, wherever you are in the world, you feel like you’re at home. Part of the site’s appeal is the highly personalized content and recommendations. Everything from its content to its imagery inspires the reader to explore a new city or country.
There are many different ways for small business owners to create the same feel with their multilingual websites. This article will outline six top tips for creating a successful multilingual online store.
Know Your Customers
If you are expanding your business overseas, you will need to conduct extensive research on your new target demographics. You will need to know their average income, likes and dislikes, cultural norms and preferred websites. And, of course, their native language. Fluently.
All of these considerations and more (legal and tax obligations, etc.) will help you build up a list of requirements for your multilingual website.
You will need:
A complete translation of your site (provided by a professional translator or localizer)
Blog content that speaks to your new audience’s preferences (again, best handled by a location-specific copywriter or a localizer)
To accept payments in another currency
To signify to Google that you are creating language variants of your store
Create Language-Specific Landing Pages
If you want to rank organically for international search, you’ll need to come up with a set of landing pages for each new locations. These should include localized imagery and popular search terms. This will mean carrying out international keyword research, ensuring that your copy attracts those searching for these common queries.
Once you have listed the most essential long-tail phrases you wish to rank for, you will then need to insert these terms into your page titles, meta descriptions, image tags, and body copy. Try to write in the vernacular of your target audience. For instance, if you’re looking to create a friendly and informal feel, insert dialect-specific terms and make your copy conversational.
How To List Your New Multilingual Stores
The rel=“alternate” hreflang attribute helps Google understand that your site is being translated. It is a signal, rather than a direct command. Therefore, other inputs on your site may override it. You can add the rel=”alternate” hreflang tag to one of three places on your site. Note: it only has to be one of these options, do not do all three.
Add it to your on-page markup
E.g: <link rel=“alternate” hreflang=“es” href=“http://es.example.com/page.html”/>
Add it to your HTTP header
E.g. HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Link: <http://es.example.com/>; rel=“alternate”; hreflang=“es”
Submit via a site map
Sitemap with all variations for each URL:
If you have multiple sites using the sitemap method, then if your other sites are verified by Google, you need only submit the code once. To find out more, check out Google’s advice pages.
Localize Your Paid Advertising
When planning your paid advertising campaigns on sites like Facebook, you will need to create separate target audience segments with detailed insights into your new customer’s preferences and shared interests. You should also switch up your advertising imagery and look for innovative ways to create advertising sales funnels that will intrigue your new audience.
For instance, announce that you are opening a new store in a new country by targeting an ad that offers a localized discount to celebrate.
You can also change your images to include pictures of local landmarks. Avoid using free stock images, as they will appear less genuine. Instead, invest in some high-quality paid photos from a site like Shutterstock.
Further, experiment with different content formats, such as video. This can help you introduce your brand to new customers in both your ad campaigns and your main landing pages. Create a product demonstration video and dub the shots in your preferred language.
If you have researched your new customers’ key pain points, address these objections in a tailored video ad campaign. You can overcome your customers’ hesitations in minutes and save on customer service inquiries by providing this vital information upfront.
Bring in a specialist
You have your online store set up and almost ready to go. You’ve tackled the big issues and have a product that you’re proud of. If, however, you are concerned that you haven’t boxed off and quashed all the potential issues involved with having a multilingual site, you will benefit from bringing in professional translators to review if everything reads in the way that it needs to.
With the help of a free guide for translation buyers, choose the right localization partner, and enjoy the dividends paid in the long-term, to invest some of your capital in making sure everything on your multilingual site says what it is meant to.
– First impressions matter and if your visitors see an unprofessional rendering of their native tongue they won’t tell you, they’ll just up and leave your online store. They may then shame you across their social media accounts and that is something you certainly do not want –
Be Clear On Your Fulfillment Terms
You will, of course, need to check that your products and labeling meet international compliance standards. You will also need to handle your tax obligations and record-keeping, etc. Consult a local expert for more on your requirements.
Aim to accurately estimate your delivery times and shipping costs and outline these clearly within your site’s terms and conditions. Sizing information should also be converted (if applicable) within your product descriptions, and you will need to ensure that the returns policy is viable for your brand. If the distance is too far, you may need to enforce a ‘no returns’ rule.
To make an impressive multilingual online store, you will need to consider every detail and provide a wealth of original content for your new targeted demographics. Choose the right translation professionals and automated tools to make payment integration easier.
Image source: pixabay
Victoria Greene is a brand consultant and freelance writer. She blogs at victoriaecommerce.com.
Here she likes to share tips to brands looking to expand into new, foreign markets.